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An Exploratory Study of Postpartum Depression and Vitamin D - May 2010

by: Pamela K. Murphy, Martina Mueller, Thomas C. Hulsey, Myla D. Ebeling, Carol L. Wagner
J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc, Vol. 16, No. 3. (1 May 2010), pp. 170-177.

BACKGROUND: Low levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), a reliable measurement of vitamin D, have been implicated in several mood disorders. To date, studies exploring the relationship between vitamin D and postpartum depression are absent from the literature.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether a relationship exists between symptoms associated with postpartum depression and vitamin D levels and to determine if serum 25(OH) D levels can predict the incidence of symptoms associated with postpartum depression.

STUDY DESIGN: An exploratory, descriptive study using a convenience sample of 97 postpartum women attending seven monthly visits. Women provided serum 25(OH)D samples and completed the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) at each visit.

RESULTS: A significant relationship over time was found between low 25(OH)D levels and high EPDS scores, indicative of postpartum depression.

CONCLUSIONS: Future rigorous studies investigating vitamin D and postpartum depression are warranted with larger sample sizes using confirmatory methods to diagnose postpartum depression. 10.1177/1078390310370476


Depression dropped off more quickly in those women with more vitamin D

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Each visit = 1 month


Previous study co-authored by Wagner

Vitamin D and mood disorders among women: an integrative review.
J Midwifery Womens Health. 2008 Sep-Oct;53(5):440-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2008.04.014.
Murphy PK, Wagner CL.
Medical University of South Carolina, 169 Ashley Ave., P.O. Box 250347, Charleston, SC 29425, USA. murphypa at musc.edu

This integrative review evaluates research studies that investigated the association between vitamin D and mood disorders affecting women to determine whether further research comparing these variables is warranted. A literature search using CINAHL, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and PubMed databases was conducted to locate peer-reviewed mood disorder research studies that measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels. Four of six studies reviewed imparted significant results, with all four showing an association between low 25(OH)D levels and higher incidences of four mood disorders: premenstrual syndrome, seasonal affective disorder, non-specified mood disorder, and major depressive disorder. This review indicates a possible biochemical mechanism occurring between vitamin D and mood disorders affecting women, warranting further studies of these variables using rigorous methodologies.

PMID: 18761297


See also VitaminDWiki

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